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Date of Issue: November 09, 2006

Island gets No. 1 ranking in online survey

TripAdvisor's Top 10 world destinations in 2007:

  1. Pamukkale, Turkey
  2. Parga, Greece
  3. Ayr, Scotland
  4. Campeche, Mexico
  5. Marrakech, Morocco
  6. Naxos, Greece
  7. Puno, Peru
  8. Soller, Spain
  9. Salvador, Brazil
  10. Fes, Morocco.

TripAdvisor's Top 10 U.S. Destinations in 2007:

  1. Anna Maria Island
  2. Kailua, Hawaii
  3. Siesta Key, Fla.
  4. Macon, Ga.
  5. Breckenridge, Colo.
  6. Millinocket, Maine
  7. Vail, Colo.
  8. Bishop, Calif.
  9. Franklin, Tenn.
  10. Eureka, Calif.

An international travelers group recently put Anna Maria Island on its map as the top 2007 U.S. destination.

TripAdvisor, a Web-based forum for destination reviews, surveyed 4,000 travelers on trends in the industry. In the survey, Anna Maria Island came out No. 1 on the list of hot destinations next year.

"I think it's fabulous," said Mary Ann Brockman, president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. "It's quite an honor, quite a feather in the cap."

Second place in the survey went to Kailua, Hawaii, followed by Siesta Key.

TripAdvisor also surveyed travelers on top international destinations. The No. 1 spot for 2007 went to Pamukkale, Turkey, followed by Parga, Greece, and Ayr, Scotland.

The survey showed increased interest in destinations for hiking and less interest in spa retreats. The survey also showed a spike in the percentage of travelers planning to drive during a vacation in 2007 and a slight increase in the number of beach-destined vacationers.

"Nearly 4,000 travelers have spoken about their vacation plans and preferences for 2007 and perhaps the most intriguing discovery is that adventures in the great outdoors has trumped luxuriating at the spa," said Michele Perry, spokeswoman for TripAdvisor.

The increased enthusiasm for vacations into the outdoors found in the TripAdvisor survey matched the findings of state tourism and conservation officials. One recent report indicated that in one year, an estimated 3 million birders generated more than $675 million in travel-related income in Florida.

"I read that Anna Maria is a bird paradise and that means it's a birder's paradise. That's why I'm here," said Alan Zigorski, of Milwaukee, who vacationed on the Island last week.

"I came for the peace and quaint," said Island vacationer Lux Medeiros, of Oklahoma City. "It's just a lovely place and I hope it never changes."

Brockman said the TripAdvisor survey served as a forecast for a strong season in 2006-07. "It's going to be a great year," she said.